Monday, February 28, 2022

Feedback - the Path to Growth

My enjoyable experiences of walking senior citizens through Basic Computer skills was shared in my blogpost titled 'Back to School with Grand Parents' at: 

Delighted to share below some of the feedback from the satisfied participants.To protect their privacy , participants' names are not shared.  M or F stands for the gender of the participant and the number following is their age}.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Reliving Char Dham 2019

About this Blog post: 

Ever since I started travelling, I have embarked on many tours; some with friends, some with family; some alone and some through Tour organizers. While I have enjoyed all these, some tours stand out and one amongst them is our Char Dham Yatra in Sep 2019, which started this same day last year, 2019. 

Looking back, I would rank this as ‘the’ tour, the Mother of all tours as it involved enormous planning, preparation, coordination, fitness level and determination. Even now on days when I struggle to sleep at night, when I go over those days- on the banks of such holy rivers as Ganga or the shivering Tharpana done at Badrinath, I will never know when I was lulled into sleep! Such is the impact it had on us, that given an opportunity, we would like to undertake the same yatra again. I have captured all those fine moments immediately on our return in my blog, which can be reached at:

I would like to relive those wonderful days of last year and so I am planning to walk through the same road but only with memories captured through some selected photos of hundreds taken on that yatra, taking care to ensure that I do not repeat what I have already shared. 

This I am planning to post in my Picture blog under the caption of “Reliving Char Dham 2019”, on a daily basis. Here we go:

Day-1 : 11-Sep-2019:

Flight to New Delhi
Flight to New Delhi

Off to Dehradun

Amongst Currencies at Dehradun airport, on the way to the land of Rishis

Smooth drive from Dheradun to Rishikesh

First Feel of Ganga Matha on this Yatra

Happy faces after the holy Dip at Rishikesh

Day-2 : 12-Sep-2019:

Travel from Rishikesh to Barkot

Invoking Vinayaka's Blessings at Rishikesh before proceeding to Barkot

Ever accompanying streams

Fascinating water paths

Winding water bodies

Frothing streams

Cloud capped mountains

Amazing Green

Natural falls

Falling for the falls

Backed by nature

Neivedyam before Prasad distribution (Lunch)

Lunch time

More gushes after lunch

Briefing on arrival at Barkot

Cottage under picturesque setting - Barkot

Clean Rooms at Barkot

In the Constant Company  of Yamuna - outside the cottage

Tete-a- tete with Yamuna

Tryst with Yamuna at Dusk

After the holy dip in Yamuna

Day-3 : 13-Sep-2019:

Schedule: Yamunotri

Early Morning travel from Barkot

As we climbed up 


Waiting Ponies

Mobbed by Doliwallahs

All set to go

Road Ahead... KMs to go !!

On a Doli

Facilities in Place

Winding path

Treacherous terrain

Pony traffic

Never short of streams

One KM done !

Pithu - another option to go up

Another KM devoured

Steep climb challenges for Dolis

Close encounters with oncoming traffic

climbing fast- One more KM done!

Crowd undeterred

Winding gorges, adamantly accompanying yatris

Asked to walk few steps to get the gains of the holy visit!

Keeping track of the partner !!

Path travelled so far

Doliwallahs carrying the yatri

Doli wallah sweat a steep climb

Oncoming traffic

Nearing... Only one more KM 

Did we climb this high ??? 

Sitting pretty while the poor doliwallah sweats 

Holy Dham sighted 

Gushing Yamuna leading yatris to the Dham

Tapta Kunda- With hot water at that height !

After the enlightening dip in the Tapta Kunda, Yamunotri

Yamuna Matha

Satisfaction writ large after dharshan

Amazingly feeling secured with the Holy Dham's backing

Yamuna River

Tricky return ride (or slide?)

Our vehicle to the Holy Dham - Doli

Our Palanquin bearers - the great Doli wallahs

Back to base at Jankichatty

Yamuna Matha ki Jai !

Day-4 : 14-Sep-2019:

Schedule: Uttarkashi

Breakfast at Barkot

Team waiting to depart

Capturing as much of Barkot.....

Barkot unmatched !

Enjoying the environs

With Yamuna

Camp site

Tents under natural roof

Bye Yamuna !!

Pravachan during travel

Decent accommodation at Uttarkashi

Strategically located room overlooking the flowing Bhageerathi

Bhageerathi view from Balcony

Lunch in progress

What cold... ? Bhageerathi Snanam

Uttarkashi Vishwanath temple sighted

Uttarkashi Vishwanath temple entrance

Pravachan at Uttarkashi Temple

Audience in rapt attention to the delightful pravachan

Delicately designed Mathaji temple

Sakshi Gopal Sannadhi

Tilting Sivalinga with Markandeya

With Yatra Director, who made a lot of difference

Day-5 : 15-Sep-2019:
Schedule: Gangotri

Adamant river accompanying a 3 AM departure

In the company of silver streams

Changing colours

Close to habitats, at times

Silent force

Route lined up with colorful attractions

Summer place of the Deity

Reached .... at last !!

At Dev Bhoomi

Small distance but with facilities for needy

South Indian 'Idly' !

The Holy Dham

First Click with the place we yearned for

After a satisfying dharshan

Getting ready

Waiting for other yatris

Bhageerathi beckons

Fast and Furious

Frightening but adorable

Panditji performing the rituals on the banks of Bhageerathi

After honoring the ancestors

Bhageerath Sthal

Delighted Group

Day-6 : 16-Sep-2019:
Schedule: Travel from Uttarkashi to Joshimutt

Tryst with nature continued, as we travelled through the day

Breakfast with an young 80+ old Yatri

Deep Gorges

Wonderful heights inviting for snaps

Too beautiful to resist a selfie

Water, water everywhere 

Passing through towns

Near one of the prayags

Frightening to pass through


KARNA PRAYAG_ Joining of alakananda and Pindar river

Tea Time break

Running silently 

Gathering speed


Cosy room afetr a tiring 15 hour travel

Day-7 : 17-Sep-2019:

Schedule:  Sankara Math (Joshimath), Joshimath, Vishnuprayag, Pandukeshwar, Mana Village, Badrinath

Neelkanth Morning View

Wading through dark alleys of Joshimath

2500 year old tree at Sankara Mutt

At the famed 2500 year old tree

Traditional  Siva temple

Clear Signs to Yatris

Sankara Math at Joshimath


Bhagawathi Amman

To the Cave which was locked

Front elevation of Sankara Math at Joshimath

Panoramic view of Joshimath from Sankara Math

Joshimath (Divya Desam)

Holy Joshimath sighted

At the Divya Desam

Side entrance

Chanting of Narasimha pranama

Strong Background

Vasudeva Sannadhi

Elegant view of the tower

Captivating aerial view of Joshimath town


Vishnu Prayag entrance

Dauli Ganga meeting Alaknanda

At the Vishnuprayag Sangamam

Significance of Vishnuprayag Sangam

About Vishnuprayag

Pandukeshwar temples:

Pandukeshwar Temples welcome

Way to Go

Panoramic view enroute

Risky Trek

Usual friend

Pandukeshwar temples- Birth place of Pandavas

Official Info

Hanuman Chatti:

Hanuman Chatti where Hanumanji  is believed to takes over the welfare of Badri pilgrims

Awaiting Dharshan , before proceeding to Badri

Mana Village:
Walk to Mana Village

Mana, last Indian village before the Tibetian border

At the village

Cabbage cultivation on one side

Long walk

Blessed to be at the birth place of the great epic Mahabharatha !

Inside the Guha of sage Vyasa

Tea shop with a  Tamil board 

At the 5326 year old cave

Miles to go !

Bhim Pul - the bridge Bhima constructed for Draupathi to cross Saraswathy river


Mandakini in full flow

Alaknanda, with scary speed 

Rituals at Brahma Kapal in freezing conditions

To the Temple

Badri Vishal

Glowing Badri Vishal 

Night view of Badrinath

Day-8 : 18-Sep-2019:
Schedule:  Badrinath to Gupta Kashi

Breathtaking morning view of Neelkanth 

Clouded peaks at Badrinath

Neelkanth at Dawn 

Leaving cloudy Badri with a heavy heart 

Short climb to Vridha badri

Vridha Badri route

Climbing through dense forest

Trekking through mountain ranges

Jubilant group after a delightful pravachan and dharshan

Rudraprayag (Enroute)  

Rudraprayag- Confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini


At the confluence - Rudraprayag 

Grand view of the rivers roaring below 

Sneaking through narrow passages

Passing through the Town

Gupta Kashi - Opted for Tent stay

Enjoying tent life in cloudy weather

Tent comforts at Gupta Kashi

Tent experiences

Day-9 : 19-Sep-2019:-
Schedule:  Kedarnath

Waiting for the Helicopter

Yatri group waiting to be called

At the helipad, about to board

Gauri Kund, view from the Chopper

Kedarnath, flight view 

Landed at Kedarnath- small walk to the temple

Nearing . . . . . 

About to reach . . . . .

Holy Dham sighted !!

A pic on the way 

First view of the Yatris, waiting to enter

Yatris getting excited as they near . . .  .

After a great Dharshan 

One more from the entrance 

Capturing memories from all corners 

Capturing memories from all corners

Before we leave . . . . 

Bye Kedarnathji 

Bye, Kedarnathji

Walking back to the Helipad

Yatris waiting for the chopper, to return to base !

Yatris waiting to return gets an opportunity to be on Kedar soil

Day-10 : 20-Sep-2019:- 
Schedule: Guptakashi temple enroute to Kirtinagar


Guptakashi temple 

Yamuna and Ganga flowing into the temple pond 

Kirtinagar- Hotel with elegant look 

Comfortable Kirtinagar hotel - a big relief at the end of tiring Yatra

Elegant view from the room

Picturesque Balcony  

With Alaknanda at Kirtinagar

Kirtinagar_Photographers delight

Day-11 : 21-Sep-2019
Schedule: Devaprayag (Divya Desam) and Haridwar

Devaprayag, Divya Desam 

Mathaji, near the Sangam

Before the holy dip at the Sangam

Sankalpam, before the Holy dip

Devaprayag - Where Alaknanda and Bhageerathi meet at the Sangamam to run as Ganga  

Scenic Ganga

Ganga, winding her way 

After the coveted Ganga Snan at the hoy Sangam

With Ganga Matha

At the Sangam Ghat

Bye, Devaprayag

Mundane attractions near the river

Enroute to Haridwar

Yatra Director, Venkatesh Prabhu interacting in the bus

Parting shot from Devaprayag, as we move away

Nearing Haridwar . . . . 

Comfortable Haridwar Room

Dakshewara Mahadev Temple, Khankal, Hardiwar

Dakshewara Mahadev Temple, Khankal, Hardiwar

Prachin Mandir, Haridwar

Maha Mrityunjaya Mandir, Haridwar

Mayadevi Mandir, Haridwar

Haridwar Haarthi

Haridwar, people gathering for  Haarthi

Day-12 : 22-Sep-2019:
Schedule: travel back home

Thanks giving time

Tirtha Yatra support team

Thanking the support staff 

Team of drivers

Our vehicles to the Holy Dhams

With the Cook team

Honoring the cooks 

Showering the affection on Yatra Director with a motherly hug

With the Tirtha Yatra , Yatra Director Venkatesh Dasa

Agrani Krishna Dasa , CEO of Tirtha Yatra who made every place livelier with his pravachan

A section of Yatris

Key Takeaway and one to preserve

Ready to head homewards  

Bye Bye Dehradun

Supper at Hyderabad

Thank you All

This concludes my picturesque journey down the memory lane of Char Dham 2019

Jai Badri Vishal ! Kedarnath ki Jai !!